Tenant Fraud/ Contacting Tenant References

13 Thanks
315 Posts
10 years ago
Dear Sirs,

It has transpired that a defaulting tenant gave a false previous address when applying for a tenancy. (I hold my hand up to performing only minimal checks as I was desperate to relet just before the Xmas/New Year shutdown, and the tenant presented himself well)

This same tenant subsequently abandoned the tenancy and left my house a complete wreck (photographed), moreover owing about £700 in rent. An expensive lesson learnt.

The tenant's mother nominated herself as a reference to her son insofar as - with his acquiescence - she asked to be kept informed of any problems with the tenancy arising, although there is no documentation for this. Also the tenant named a specific individual (his line manager) as an employer reference when he changed jobs. The tenant copied to me emails to this line manager asking for confirmation of specific employment details (ie his employment, his salary, his first payment date)though no response was ever received. Since the tenant left, it has become apparent that he has left a string of (in some cases substantial) debts and I now strongly suspect (after Manchester City Council contacted me by telephone) that there were serious irregularities in his declaration of circumstances for the obtaining of benefits. I haven't responded to MCC to date.

Question 1: Would the tenant's giving of a false previous address constitute the criminal offence of "obtaining goods or services by deception"?

Question 2: Would I be justified in notifying the two references (mother and line manager) of the (strictly factual) issues of the arrears and state of house upon abandonment or would any such approach leave me vulnerable to the charge of tenant harassment?

Question 3: Do I have a duty of disclosure to Manchester City Council or - again - would that leave me vulnerable to a charge of tenant harassment?

Question 4: The tenant moved out of the house (with about two weeks notice) consensually but has since - apparently under advice from his local CAB - untruthfully claimed he was "intimidated" into leaving early. What advice could you give me?

I may need to check other aspects of this deplorable situation as it develops.


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